The World's Best Gourmet Pizza: 'Tropical Pie' Wins Highest Honor

The Tropical Pie was just named the world's best pizza. (Courtesy of Goodfella's)
The Tropical Pie was just named the world's best pizza. (Courtesy of Goodfella's)

To make the world's best pizza you'll need dough, mozzarella cheese and some top shelf tequila.

On Thursday, top pizza-makers from around the globe competed for the title of "World's Best Pizza" at the International Pizza Expo in Las Vegas. At stake was $10,000 and the highest honor in the industry.

Photos: more from the International Pizza Expo

This year's big winner was anything but traditional. The "Tropical Pie" - a blend melted asiago and mozzarella cheese, topped with shrimps, thinly sliced and twisted limes, a fresh mango salsa, all resting on a rich pineapple cream sauce infused with Patron.

The recipe, devised by mad pizza scientist Andrew Scudera of Goodfella's Brick Oven Pizza in Staten Island, was months in the making.

"I came up with idea to use tequila, but it was a collaboration," Andrew tells Shine. "Everyone here at the restaurant dived in and gave their input, helping to perfect the recipe by the time we brought it to the show."

The competition in Vegas was steep-particularly in the "gourmet" category, where the Tropical Pie was entered. Unlike the "traditional" competition where standard two topping pies are tossed around, "gourmet" competitors go rogue. The only rule is that there are no rules.

"A lot of different types cuisines compete in the gourmet challenge," says Andrew. "It's a culinary phenomenon." His fiercest competitor: a Japanese chef who made a rice crust topped with sushi-grade raw fish.

Andrew and his Goodfella's team celebrate their win at the Pizza Expo.
Andrew and his Goodfella's team celebrate their win at the Pizza Expo.

For Andrew, it's been a long road to Vegas. At 16, Andrew got his first job pushing pies at Goodfella's. Now, 18 years later he's a full-fledged partner in the restaurant. As chef and engineer of the Expo challenge, Andrew wasn't just competing for the cash, he was protecting the honor of his second home.

"We've won the title twice, but this is the first one I've been responsible for," he says. "I've been trying to win it for the past 10 years."

Video: World Pizza Expo's dough toss challenge

Back in Staten Island Friday, the Goodfella's team had already added the Tropical Pie to their menu. A 12-inch version made from scratch by the master himself is priced at $15.99, cheap considering the cost of a single shot of Patron at any New York Bar.

Andrew's booze-soaked pie joins the ranks of another Goodfella's Expo winner from a few years back. "The vodka pizza, it's like a penne ala vodka cream sauce that we make with Absolut," Andrew says.

So does this mean you have to be over 21 to try the world's best pizza?

"We get asked that all the time," says Andrew. "All the alcohol burns off, so you don't need ID to eat it."

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